POST-TYPHOON. Department of Public Works and Highways personnel rid the surrounding areas of Marikina River of mud and trash on Monday (Sept. 26, 2022). The river reached the third alarm (at least 18 meters) near midnight on Sept. 25 due to Super Typhoon Karding, necessitating evacuation. (PNA photos by Joey O. Razon)

MANILA – At least two measures in the Senate will ensure safety in typhoon-stricken areas, especially of children and the vulnerable population.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has filed Senate Bill No. 940, or the Evacuation Center Act, which seeks to establish an evacuation center in every city and municipality for residents displaced by disasters, calamities and other emergency such as fires, and outbreak of diseases.

Senator Christopher Go previously filed a similar bill (Mandatory Evacuation Center Act), which will task the Department of Public Works and Highways and local government units to build such shelters.

Gatchalian’s other measure, Senate Bill No 155 or the 21st Century School Board Act, seeks the expansion of local school boards' functions to include the introduction of timely, organized, and localized interventions in the delivery of basic education services during times of calamities, disasters, and emergencies.

He urged the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, and Department of Education to see to it that children are in safe spaces when disasters strike.

"Dapat din nating tiyakin na matutugunan natin ang pangangailangan nila pagdating sa kalusugan at makakabalik sila nang ligtas sa kanilang mga paaralan, lalo na’t matagal na naantala ng pandemya ang kanilang edukasyon (We must make sure that we address their needs and they can safely go back to schools, especially after the long interruption caused by the pandemic)" Gatchalian said in a statement.

The chair of Committee on Basic Education recalled that after Super Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013, children battled malnutrition and diseases while some had to stop attending classes to help their families earn a living.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council report as of Tuesday morning stated that 16,476 families or 60,817 individuals have so far been affected by Super Typhoon Karding, which lashed Luzon on Sunday.

Gatchalian reiterated the need to construct structurally-sound evacuation centers in all cities and municipalities to stop the practice of using school buildings and facilities as emergency shelters. (With a report from Leonel Abasola/PNA)